Whisking us into the heart of American high school life, Blanca Siljedahl’s original “1970” was an absolute joy to behold, full to the brim with a brilliant Beatles soundtrack and as Colleen eloquently puts it: life, love and loss.
“1970” follows 9 New Jersey high school students as they venture into their tumultuous final year of school. Jeff, the heart and soul of the class, would rather not be studying, and with his carefree yet good-hearted ways is determined to make the year one to remember. Colleen, ceaselessly studying, is his polar opposite, and might not be out of place at Kungsholmen. Each and every one of the characters is strongly established, and a series of parallel plots develop; Kath and James’s romance, the revolutionary Chris, passionately opposed to US action in South East Asia, Colleen’s estranged friend Ann, and depression and gay rights storylines emerging in the Liz-Holly-Robbie trio.
The musical brings The Beatles to life, seamlessly incorporating favourites such as She Loves You, We Can Work it Out and Help! into the plot. The singing and accompanying choreography was truly spot on, and creative usage of the stage and aisles kept the audience engaged throughout. During the second half of the play, disaster strikes and we find that Jeff has been killed by the Ohio National Guard while protesting against the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia (read more). The contrast of this to the otherwise cheerful tone of the play did not come across as striking. It was handled sensitively and formed an integral part of the story.
“1970” was just as much about the bigger picture as the smallest details. Colleen’s wondrous LSD stint, James’s dashing eyebrows, a colourful Father McKenzie and the numerous stunning solos immersed the audience into a 1970’s kaleidoscope. The sheer talent of the actors, scenographers, tech people, scriptwriter and director – all Kungsholmen students – left the audience feeling rather much like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.
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